In a semi-distant future, roughly by 2116, a group of scientists in a long-term project have finally developed a race of sentient/intelligent raccoons. They did it in complete secrecy over a span of nearly a hundred years.
The intelligence level is that of a human child of 10-12 years old. To define intelligence, lets turn to Wikipedia, that words it like this:
Human intelligence is the intellectual capacity of humans, which is characterized by perception, consciousness, self-awareness, and volition. Through their intelligence, humans possess the cognitive abilities to learn, form concepts, understand, apply logic, and reason, including the capacities to recognize patterns, comprehend ideas, plan, problem solve, make decisions, retaining, and use language to communicate. Intelligence enables humans to experience and think.
These raccoons have the ability to use various tools and they can even understand and apply the basic concepts of certain science fields, such as grade-school level math and basic medical treatment of other raccoons. They also have a language. An average human can understand this language via a computer interface the scientists developed, while some people can even learn it. Meanwhile, a raccoon can be taught to understand human language.
They also have slightly higher lifespan over average raccoons, being able to live up to 30 years. There are 60-70 adult raccoons alive at the moment of the announcement, living in a small human-made settlement for them, where the scientists can control the population. They are raised, knowing they are watched over by the scientists, who interact with them on a daily basis, however only scientists are currently at the settlement.
Scientists also can completely prove that these raccoons actually possess intelligence. They plan on creating raccoon communities in remote locations of the planet where they will let the evolution of the species flow without outside control, only observation, while the original settlement will keep being controlled by them. Certain raccoons have also shown major interest in exploring the "human world", so the scientists are also proposing that raccoons might sent out to human cities, while still under a fairly strict observation.
My questions are following:
Regarding the inter-species relationships on the human side:
- How would human society react to a new intelligent species juridically?
- How would human society react to a new intelligent species from a stand-points of religion and morality?
Regarding the experiment:
- How might humanity react initially after the scientists have made an announcement of the results of this experiment?
- How might human society react to such an experiment juridically?
And regarding the intra-species aspect of creating a new species that are intelligent:
- How might our human to human interactions change, if another sentient species would suddenly appear on our planet?
- How could humans try to use the knowledge of artificially "boosting" the species?
EDIT: fixed up the structure of the question. If you feel it's to broad, I could create separate questions for the two latter question groups.